First-ever woman named SF Muni chief

By Joe Fritgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The first-ever woman to lead Muni at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was appointed last week, following the retirement of a man dogged by sexual harassment allegations.

Julie Kirschbaum is the new acting SFMTA director of transit, which she announced to the agency’s transit division on October 29…

As acting deputy director, Kirschbaum managed day-to-day Muni operations, led a system-wide redesign and managed the transit planning and scheduling group, according to SFMTA…

Before Reiskin was hired, Debra Johnson was acting director of transportation, overseeing multiple departments. Carmen Clark also was interim executive director of SFMTA for a time, which oversaw Muni responsibilities. However, Kirschbaum is the first woman to take the reigns as Director of Transit at SFMTA, directly and principally responsible for Muni.

In the Bay Area, however, women-led transportation agencies are the norm. Grace Crunican is general manager of BART, and Tilly Chang oversees the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which primarily serves as a congestion management and transportation planning body… (more)

We can only hope that a new era of respect for the workers and Muni riders will open the door to some much needed changes in the top-down management style of the department. We hope the new director will concentrate on running a cleaner, safer, more reliable transit system today and get out of the planning department. We hope the new director will direct the staff to do the public’s bidding instead of forcing the pubic to follow the staff’s schemes. Just give it a try for 6 months and see if the ridership levels to not go up and the public does not approve.

Uber And Lyft Are Making Traffic Worse While Claiming To Fix It

By Michael Hobbes : huffingtonpost – excerpt

The ride-hailing companies want you to think they’re reducing congestion and promoting public transit. Their actions tell a different story.

For years now, Uber and Lyft have argued that their business model provides a way for cities to augment public transport, reduce car ownership and beat traffic congestion.

In 2015, Uber co-founder and then-CEO Travis Kalanick told a room of CEOs that he envisioned “a world where there’s no more traffic in Boston in five years.” The co-founder of Lyft, John Zimmer, predicted in 2016 that private car ownership “will all-but end in major U.S. cities” by 2025. “If Lyft Line were to be applied to all single occupancy taxi trips,” Zimmer and his co-founder, Logan Green, wrote in 2017, “it would reduce the number of vehicles needed by 75 percent.” They called their post “The End of Traffic.”

But these utopian visions have yet to square with reality. Since 2015, studies have consistently found that ride-sharing is associated with more driving, less public transit use and worsening congestion. Car traffic and ownership rates are still rising and, according to a study earlier this year, up to 60 percent of Uber and Lyft rides replace walking, biking, buses and trains — transportation modes that didn’t add cars to the roads. Just this month, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority concluded that ride-sharing accounted for roughly half of the 37 extra minutes San Franciscans spend sitting in traffic every day compared to 2010…

A study by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority concluded that ride-hailing accounted for roughly half the increase in congestion between 2010 and 2016.

(more)

What does it take to change situation that is well-documented by a number of studies? We are told the California PUC is responsible for removing local government control over the TNCs, Google buses and other non-public transportation business models that we are causing the major traffic problems and putting our public transportation systems at a disadvantage? Maybe the solution is to change the CPUC. Ask the governor wannabes how they will do this.

 

SPUR Talk: Transportation Challenges for Downtown Tech Companies

by : sfstreetsblog -excerpt

A panel at SPUR discussed how downtown tech companies Airbnb and Salesforce help their employees get to work .

The San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), hosted a lunchtime talk in downtown San Francisco today, with representatives from Salesforce and Airbnb, about how the companies help employees commute between work and home. Unlike tech giants based outside of downtown San Francisco, neither company makes heavy use of private buses–so-called Tech Shuttles–and instead depends on public transit such as BART, buses and Caltrain.

“Our San Francisco campus is right down the street,” said Lauren Bennett, Senior Program Manager for Transportation at Salesforce. Her company has seven buildings in downtown San Francisco with nearly 7,000 employees, she explained, adding “That gives us access to two BART stations and the regional Transbay Terminal…we don’t have a last-mile problem.”

That’s probably why a third of its employees get to work by BART, with another 20 percent getting in by various bus and other transit providers. That’s part of a corporate strategy. “We think our employees want to work in urban areas and like the city as an amenity,” she said. And they don’t try to insulate their employees from the surrounding area. “We don’t have a cafeteria. We want people to get out, walk around and spend money in small businesses,” she said…(more)

Roadshow: When a transit commute takes twice as long as driving

Q I would like to live in Thomas McMurtry’s world (Roadshow, Feb. 12), where access to public transportation is as easy as getting on a bus or train that stops in front of your house.

I live 13 miles from work, which isn’t that far. But there’s no simple public transit in my neighborhood, and no public transit comes by my place of work. I live in a different county than the one I work in, so even if it was easy on both ends, I’d still be negotiating three transit agencies.

Google tells me that my commute via transit would be just over 2 hours versus about 40 minutes in commute traffic. Charging for parking works in some areas, but it’s hardly a panacea for all traffic issues…

I would love to use public transportation more, but all Caltrain and VTA light-rail lots within 5 miles of where I live are full weekdays at 7 a.m. Caltrain is standing-room-only at rush hours...

The powers-that-be want us to use public transportation more, but they do nothing to make it workable. If the best we can do is convert carpool lanes to “Lexus lanes,” transportation in the Bay Area is doomed to gridlock in the not-too-distant future... (more)

 

SEIU Local 1021 backs motorist measure and a Republican. WTF?!?!

By : sfbg – excerpt

seiu endorses l-1

Service Employees International Union Local 1021 — which has long played an important role in San Francisco’s progressive movement, providing the money and member turnout to achieve some important victories for the left — finds itself at odds with many progressive activists in this election, particularly on the issue of transportation….

So we asked Local 1021 Political Chair Alysabeth Alexander about the endorsement, and she told us: “One of our member leaders is a proponent and the argument that driving is hell in San Francisco resonated with a portion of our membership that drives and for whom public transportation is not an option either because of service cuts and route changes, because their job requires car use, or because they work shifts that don’t work for public transportation or biking. Because of rising housing prices many working people have been pushed out of SF over the years, and many of our workers shifts end or start when BART or Muni isn’t working or isn’t practical. Our union is 100 percent supportive of public transportation and addressing the climate crisis head-on.  We are fighting for the expansion of public transportation and for adequate funding, and sufficient staffing so that it can be maintained.”… (more)

Newsflash. The Restore Transportation Balance intiative is a non-partisan effort to fix the public transit, parking and traffic nightmare that SFMTA has brought to the city. The fact that 80% (according to recent reports) of Muni employees commute to the city and the Muni drivers filed a class action against their boses, explains their support for Prop L.

 

Cubic Transportation Systems Receives $7.5 Million Contract Add-on from Metropolitan Transportation Commission to Expand Clipper Card to Smaller Bay Area Transit Agencies

PRWEB : digitaljournal – excerpt

Cubic Transportation Systems, a leading integrator of information technology and payment systems and services for public transportation, received a $7.5 million add-on contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to expand the Clipper® card fare payment system to more than a dozen suburban transit agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area. The system, which Cubic delivered and operates, will enhance travel options for commuters in parts of the East and North Bay… (more)

Did anyone else catch the suggestion by one of the MTA Board Directors to hold off on some of the tech expenses? Clearly he was ignored. This is $7.5 million dollars for more tech and less for Muni service expansion.

 

RELATED:
Rail supplier news from Cubic, Alstom, Wasatch, BBVA, Splunk, RSI, REMSA and Parsons Brinckerhoff (April 24)

Local news Calling all cars … San Francisco motorists call for “transportation balance”

As San Francisco has implemented its 40-year-old Transit First policy more assertively in recent years, some car-loving residents have grumbled, fumed and quietly plotted revenge.

Their targets are the politicians and bureaucrats who have visited upon the city such evils as bike lanes, transit-only lanes, variable parking meter rates, higher parking charges and enforcing meters on Sundays (recently revoked).

Now, they’re prepared to unleash their fury. An unnamed coalition of  San Franciscans, including a Republican candidate for Assembly, submitted papers and started collecting signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would establish a nonbinding declaration of policy “restoring transportation balance in San Francisco.”

“We realize that motorists contribute a disproportionate share of the funding to the SFMTA while receiving next to nothing in return,” the coalition said in a statement.

The group acknowledges the Transit First policy, which passed in 1973, but says that 79 percent of city households own cars and nearly 50 percent rely on cars to get to and from work.

“The Transit First policy has morphed into one that favors only public transportation and bicycles to the exclusion of any other mode of transportation,” the coalition says in a statement. “Nevertheless, a majority of San Franciscans want the automobile option for its convenience, personal safety and freedom of movement.”

The group’s policy calls for:

  • Prohibiting parking meters on Sundays, holidays and outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Freezing for five years fees for parking meters, garages and residential parking permits, and limiting increases thereafter to inflation adjustments.
  • Banning new parking meters or variable meter pricing in neighborhoods unless a majority of residents sign a petition in support.
  • Earmarking a portion of new parking revenue, fees charges motorists and bond monies for construction and operation of neighborhood parking garages.
  • Requiring that any “re-engineering of traffic flow in the city should aim to achieve safer, smoother-flowing streets.”
  • Enforcing traffic laws “equally for everyone using San Francisco’s streets and sidewalks.”
  • Requiring motorists to be appointed to the Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, and create a Motorists’ Citizens Advisory Committee.
  • Having the Board of Supervisors “make every reasonable effort” to adhere to the policy.

Coalition representatives say they need to gather 9,702 signatures  by July 7 to qualify their measure for the ballot. Look for them at a parking garage near you… (more)